2019 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize: Winners!

The League of Canadian Poets would like to wish a heartfelt congratulations to all the incredible winners of the 2019 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize! This year, we received a record number of three-hundred and eighty-one submissions and we’re so excited to publish the six winning poems right here on our website!

Thank you to our jurors for the junior category – Bianca Lakoseljac, Lois Lorimer, and Diana Manole – and the senior category – Barbara Black, Laura McRae, and Naomi Beth Wakan – for all their hard work in selecting this year’s winners and honourable mentions. A message from our senior category jurors:

We’d like to thank all poets who submitted. The selection of poems was large, with a variety of poetic styles and forms, strong voices with captivating poetic skills, and wide ranging and often challenging subject matter. With vivid images and inventive poetic language you took us to exotic places, to dark places of the soul, showed us struggles with body image, relationships, cultural heritage, and mental health and sent us on flights of the imagination. There were lyric poems and pantoums, portraits, erasure poems and ekphrastic poems, all written with an understanding of the power of language. Bravo. You give us hope for a new generation of poets.

Without further ado, we present your 2019 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize winners – be sure to click the poem titles to read them and our jurors’ comments, plus an interview with the poet:





1st place: “All Purple” by Jonathan Chu, grade 8

2nd place: “I Am” by Sophie Choong, grade 7

3rd place: “The Sky Between Two Roofs” by Jamie Wang, grade 8


Honourable mentions:

“Jia” by Jonathan Chu, grade 8

“If I Could” by Madhavan Thevar, grade 9

“Space” by Jewel Cao, grade 9



1st place: “Reflections in Kermanshah” by Nazanin Soghrati, grade 11

2nd place: “The day after you left” by Angelina Shandro, grade 11

3rd place: “Calabash” by Max Zhang, grade 12


Honourable mentions:

“7 am, morning dark” by Stephanie Ya Wen Chang, grade 11

“Coalesce” by Stephanie Ya Wen Chang, grade 11

“The Physical Lover” by Rashid Al-Abri, grade 12


Congratulations to the winners, honourable mentions, and all the poets who submitted their work! Submitting is a huge first step in a poet’s career and we thank you for sending us your work.

The distinguished poems from this year’s prize will be featured in Poetry Pause in 2019-2020.